Causes of Chronic Pancreatitis
The main causes of chronic pancreatitis are alcoholism, a blocked or narrowed pancreatic duct, and heredity. In some cases, the cause is unknown. Of all the causes of chronic pancreatitis, alcoholism is the most common. Other causes include congenital conditions, cystic fibrosis, and some drugs.
While alcoholism is the most common cause of this condition, it is not the only one. The main causes of this disorder include:
- Blocked or narrowed pancreatic duct (because of trauma or pseudocysts)
- Unknown cause (idiopathic).
Causes of Chronic Pancreatitis: Alcohol Abuse
Damage from alcohol abuse may not appear for many years, and then a person may have a sudden attack of pancreatitis. In up to 70 percent of adult patients, chronic pancreatitis appears to be caused by alcoholism. This form of pancreatitis is more common in men than in women and often develops between the ages of 30 and 40.
Causes of Chronic Pancreatitis: Heredity
Hereditary pancreatitis usually begins in childhood but may not be diagnosed for several years. A person with hereditary pancreatitis usually has the typical pancreatitis symptoms that come and go over time. Episodes can last from two days to two weeks.
A determining factor in the diagnosis of hereditary pancreatitis is two or more family members with pancreatitis in more than one generation. Treatment for individual attacks is usually the same as it is for acute pancreatitis (see Acute Pancreatitis Treatment). Any pain or nutrition problems are treated just as they are for acute pancreatitis. Surgery can often ease pain and help manage complications.